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Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan Smolder in First Image From Lesbian Ammonite

Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan Smolder in First Image From Lesbian Ammonite


The lesbian-themed film stars Winslet as the British paleontologist Mary Anning and Ronan as her love interest Charlotte.  

The first image from Ammonite, which stars Kate Winslet as real-life British paleontologist Mary Anning and Saoirse Ronan as her lover circa the early 19th century, has been released.

The movie is another in a spate of period pieces about lesbian and bisexual women. The Favourite, Colette, and Lizzie were all released in theaters last year, while HBO recently premiered Gentleman Jack, about the 19th-century rulebreaker and lesbian Anne Lister. Additionally, the '50s-era Anna Paquin and Holliday Grainger starrer Tell It to the Bees just dropped in theaters. And Vita and Virginia, about the love affair between Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West, will be released later this year.

Director Francis Lee (God's Own Country) tweeted the photo of Winslet (who's played queer before in Heavenly Creatures and Iris) and Mary Queen of Scots star Ronan on Monday.

The film, costarring out actress and Killing Eve favorite Fiona Shaw (who was in Colette and Lizzie), takes place in a coastal town in the United Kingdom circa 1820. It tells the story of a romance between Anning and Ronan's character Charlotte, a "London woman of means to whom she must unexpectedly play nursemaid." The women clash at first but eventually become close.

While highly anticipated, Ammonite has not been without controversy.

Some of Anning's relatives have spoken out against the film for fictionalizing a lesbian romance. The family argues that Anning's life, considering she's been hailed as "the unsung hero of fossil discovery" by the Natural History Museum, was interesting enough without adding a fictionalized romance with another woman.

"Do the filmmakers have to resort to using unconfirmed aspects to somebody's sexuality to make an already remarkable story sensational? Imagine the shame and embarrassment this woman would be feeling right now to actually have her private sex life discussed and played out on-screen," one of Anning's relatives, Barbara Anning, said earlier this year. "This adds nothing to her story."

Ammonite costars James McArdle, Gemma Jones, and Alec Secareanu.

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Tracy E. Gilchrist